Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Irony Age

It is ironic that Christians call upon saints to save them from acts of God. I know the theology; I know that it is more complicated than that, but still: it is ironic. A modern irony is that comparing Mohammed's "the Recitation" with Hitler's "my Struggle" would get me called 'racist'. It has been called 'racist' to liken overdressed muslim women to letterboxes, even though that is surely no worse than likening nuns to penguins, as in The Blues Brothers (hardly a racist movie).

For such reasons I think of this as the Irony Age. For another example, hominids that were not human were presumably hunted by primitive tribes of humans. Many of them might have been hunted to extinction, as humans evolved. Neanderthals took their time becoming extinct, so they might have evolved an instinctive fear of the human form: those without some such fear may well have had a significant disadvantage. And since white people are the product of humans and neanderthals, it is conceivable that a fear of black people evolved in neanderthals and was then inherited by white people. That is, it is conceivable that racism was caused by black people. Maybe not, of course; but do you find yourself wanting to say "Probably not," instead of "Maybe not," simply because of political correctness? The irony is that since most scientists would, similarly, want to say "Probably not," it would also be scientifically correct to say it (since science is what scientists do).

So much for racism; what about sexism? Well, there is a slight difference in average height between women and men. Some of the causes of that fact may well have been sexist, but the fact itself is not. It is just a fact. Still, one of the consequences of it is that the tallest adults are predominantly male. That is mainly because of the Bell curve. Again, that is not sexist, but humans do tend quite strongly to look up to taller humans (pun intended). That is probably not in itself sexist. But it does mean that when it comes to promotions to top positions, taller humans – who are mostly men – tend to do better. Consequently there is a significant chunk of the gender pay gap. The irony is that trying to make things fairer by promoting women who apply – probably taller women – over the least attractive men who apply – probably the smaller of the men – would worsen the actual unfairness of our looking up to taller humans. It is likely that seeking equality elsewhere could similarly worsen sexism (although describing particular cases would probably get me described as sexist).